A clash broke out between village residents and Forest Department personnel at Belligere village in Bhadravathi taluk on Sunday.

As many as 113 bagair hukum farmers in Belligere are cultivating 263 acres of land that belongs to the department as per official records.

On Sunday, department personnel arrived at the village to clear the “encroachments”.

The farmers asked the officials not to take up the clearing operation.

Subsequently, the residents and the forest personnel clashed. When the forest personnel resorted to caning, the farmers retaliated by assaulting them.

The forest personnel then fired two rounds in the air.

Range Forest Officer Manjunath lodged a complaint with the Bhadravathi police against the farmers.

The farmers too lodged a complaint stating that they were assaulted by the Forest personnel.

Eight farmers and four forest personnel who were injured in the clash have been hospitalised.

Equipment belonging to the Forest Department, a jeep and two motorcycles were set ablaze by the irate mob. Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar told The Hindu that the police had arrested 50 farmers for preventing the Forest personnel from discharging their duty.

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